November 1, 2009
Starbucks Corp is merging its rewards cards into one free program, launching the new rewards program on Dec. 26, when it also will devote all of its in-store marketing to persuading those often-infrequent visitors to become loyal members.
Under the merged program
- New members will enter at a "welcome" level and receive a free birthday drink.
- Registered Starbucks card users come in at the second "green" level, which offers two hours of free Wi-Fi, free brewed coffee refills and other benefits.
- Gold card members enter at the "gold" level, which adds to the previous offers with tailored coupons and a free drink with every 15 purchased.
- Existing Gold card members will get their same benefits for a full year after the purchase of their cards and none of the card benefits will expire before January, even if a member's benefits were due to run out, Davenport said.
"We're comfortable that we have a better program," Terry Davenport, Starbucks' senior vice president of marketing, said of the merged loyalty card program, which is called My Starbucks Rewards and launches with no annual fee.
The new program is designed to minimize confusion and eliminate the $25 annual fee attached to the Starbucks Gold card, best known for giving users 10 percent off on purchases.
Last winter, the company sold 26 million new Starbucks cards as holiday gift cards.
The Seattle-based company already has more than 2.5 million customers who have registered their Starbucks or Starbucks Gold rewards cards. Davenport hopes to one day double that number.